Ends up bigger is better, at least that's the notion coming from the Redskins war room. Through two days and three rounds of the NFL Draft, 'Skins GM Scot McCloughan has made good on his promise to build a bigger, stronger roster.
In the first round Washington selected Brandon Scherff, a tackle from the University of Iowa. While most projections pegged Scherff to go inside the Top 10, some were surprised McCloughan tabbed Scherff at five while USC's Leonard Williams was still on the board. What is known about Scherff is toughness, and what is obvious is size. At 6'5", 320 lbs., Scherff immediately becomes the biggest guard on the Redskins roster, and ranks between Trent Williams and Morgan Moses as the biggest tackle on the roster. McCloughan and coach Jay Gruden talked about a hard nosed run game, and Scherff should immediately step in and help that cause.
Friday night, McCloughan made two more picks, and one trade. Throughout the run up to the draft process, the GM made clear his desire for 10 picks, and by trading down 26 spots in the third round with Seattle, he accomplished his 10 pick goal. The trade came after the selection of Mississippi State defensive end Preston Smith in the second round.
Where Smith will play in the 'Skins 3-4 defense may still be up for debate, it looks like outside linebacker, but one thing is certain: Smith is another mountain of a man. Listed at 6'5" and 270 lbs., Smith immediately becomes the biggest linebacker on the Redskins roster, outweighing last year's second round pick Trent Murphy by 10 pounds. And Gruden said the team might like to see Smith put on more weight.
"We feel like he’s still a young kid, growing, and there’s still a lot we can build upon with his body frame with the way it is," Gruden said Friday night. "Very long arms, he’s an explosive player."
Sure, Smith is huge, but he will not tower over other players in his position group. But guess who will: Redskins third round pick Matt Jones. A running back out of Florida, Jones is 6'2" and 235 lbs. and known for his tenacity as a pass blocker and downhill run style. Of the current backs on the 'Skins roster, none are taller than 5'10", though incumbent starter Alfred Morris packs 225 lbs. on his 5' 10" frame. Still, Washington sorely needs a back strong in pass protection, and Jones can provide that day one.
"We liked his attitude. We liked what he knew about football and his passion for the game and his running style," Gruden said of Jones. "He’s a little bit different than what we’ve had around here. He’s a downhill, smash-mouth type runner. He’s a physical kid."
Picking up on a trend here? Through three picks McCloughan is committed to making the Redskins bigger and more physical, quite a departure from the zone-blocking speed schemes of the Shanahan era. And with seven picks left on Saturday, expect more braun to head to Redskins Park.